Sat, Apr 28, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER WITH CNA

■ Transport
Mandarin unveils new route

Mandarin Airlines will open regular direct flights between Kaohsiung and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, starting tomorrow. The new service will benefit Taiwanese businessmen who travel frequently to the Southeast Asian country, Vietnamese spouses of local citizens and travelers in southern Taiwan, a spokesman for the company said. The flight will take around 3.5 hours, the spokesman said, adding that tickets for the first flight had sold out. The airline is offering a discounted ticket price for flights between tomorrow and May 12 to celebrate the opening of the new route, the spokesman said.

■ Politics

Mayor hospitalized

Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) has been admitted to Chung-ho Memorial Hospital, the Kaohsiung City Government said yesterday. Director-General of the Mayor's Office Hung Chih-kun (洪智坤) said the hospital insisted Chen stay in hospital for further examination after she complained of suffering dizziness after getting up on Thursday. Hospital vice president Lai Wen-te (賴文德) told a press conference that Chen has high blood pressure and blood sugar, adding that the hospital plans to conduct blood tests on her. Lai said Chen was conscious and in stable condition, but that she was expected to stay in the hospital for observation for four to five days. Hung and Hsiao Yu-cheng (蕭裕正), director-general of the city's Department of Information, both denied rumors that Chen had been hospitalized due to a minor stroke. Deputy Kaohsiung Mayor Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) and Cheng Wen-lung (鄭文隆) will manage city affairs until Chen is fit enough to return to work, Hsiao said.

■ Media

TTV chairman resigns

Taiwan Television Enterprise (TTV) chairman Lai Kuo-chou (賴國洲) yesterday handed in his resignation, citing government interference in the state-owned TV station's management. Lai said in a statement that he had to leave because he "stood in the way of somebody getting rich." TTV president Chen Ching-ho (陳清河) will double as chairman until a replacement has been found. Lai said that he would soon brief the public on his experiences at the station. "I think we will figure out sooner or later whether the government's sale of TTV shares to private firms is really a move to keep its promise to withdraw from media management or if it is simply trying to extend its influence on another aspect," he said in the statement.

■ Constitution

Academics call for change

A group of academics yesterday appealed to the nation's major political parties to revise the Constitution and turn the government into a parliamentary system. Lu Ya-li (呂亞力), professor emeritus of political science at National Taiwan University, and Chou Yan-shan (周陽山), professor of political science at the Chinese Culture University, said the general provisions of the Constitution, which deal with the sensitive issues of the country's name and territory, should remain intact. However, the central government should be converted into a parliamentary system, with members chosen by a popular electoral system under which voters cast one ballot for their favored candidate and one for their political party, they said. Claiming that their opinions represented those of more than 100 political science academics and professionals, Lu and Chou also called for a relaxation of the criteria for amending the Constitution.

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